Iced Oatmeal Cookies

These classic iced oatmeal cookies are old-fashioned style with soft centers, crisp chewy edges, and are topped with vanilla icing that sets after a couple hours. Pulsing the oats before adding to the cookie dough will give you a compact and uniform textured cookie.

Old fashioned iced oatmeal cookies

Welcome to day 5 of 2018 Sally’s Cookie Palooza! If you’re just joining us, here are all the recipes published so far this week:

Day 5 means we’re halfway through the 10 day cookie countdown, so I’m sharing an extra special recipe. These iced oatmeal cookies are old-fashioned style with buttery soft centers, crisp chewy edges, and plenty of cozy spice flavor. They’re topped with a light coating of vanilla icing that sets overtime, making cookies perfect for stacking and gift-giving. You know the packaged iced oatmeal cookies you can buy at the store? That’s what these are but, you know, fresh from your oven and without all the sketchy preservatives!

stack of iced oatmeal cookies

Video Tutorial

How to Make Iced Oatmeal Cookies

This recipe is adapted from my oatmeal chocolate chip cookies: soft & chewy oatmeal cookies from which you can make oatmeal raisin cookies, white chocolate chip cherry oatmeal cookies, and oatmeal scotchies. Since I love it so much, I used this recipe as my starting point today. I played around with the ingredients so that I could replicate the texture of store-bought iced oatmeal cookies with the taste of homemade.

Texture: We want a compact oatmeal cookie with soft centers and crisp edges. I switched up the oats to flour ratio in my original recipe. Less oats and more flour proved successful. I went even further and pulsed the oats a few times to gently break them down into a coarse powdery consistency. Ding ding ding! This was the winning answer.

Taste: Now that the texture is spot-on, what about the flavor? To instill that delicious old-fashioned oatmeal cookie flavor, make sure you reach for:

  • brown sugar
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • and a spoonful of molasses

Consider these 4 ingredients as flavor powerhouses. The brown sugar actually plays two roles: flavor and softness. Its soft and moist texture translates directly into the baked cookie.

iced oatmeal cookie with hands breaking it in half

The Trick is Pulsing the Oats

This is an extra step, but– as mentioned above– taking an extra minute to pulse the oats will completely transform your iced oatmeal cookies. No matter if you’re using whole oats or quick oats, you must pulse them a few times in your food processor to obtain the correct consistency. I used my ninja. Here’s the texture you want:

2 images of ground up oats in a food processor

2 images of oatmeal cookie dough in a cookie scoop and oatmeal cookie dough in a glass bowl


This is a soft cookie dough and will over-spread in the oven unless you chill it. Chill the cookie dough for about 45 minutes in the refrigerator before baking.

Use a cookie scoop. Can I admit something? I never use a cookie scoop when making chocolate chip cookies, but I swear by this tool for oatmeal cookies. Oatmeal cookie dough is sticky, textured, and soft. A cookie scoop not only prevents a mess, it helps ensure all cookies are the same size and shape. I recommend the medium cookie scoop which holds 1.5 Tablespoons of cookie dough. The cookies spread nicely, so I recommend only 8-9 cookies per baking sheet.

Oatmeal cookie dough balls on baking sheet before baking

Soft oatmeal cookies

How to Ice Oatmeal Cookies

There are two tricks to icing oatmeal cookies.

  1. Thick icing. The thicker the icing, the more likely it will set. This vanilla icing is super thick. Start with sifted confectioners’ sugar and a splash of vanilla extract, then only add enough milk until you have a perfectly thick and creamy texture. Literally only 2 Tablespoons. Very little liquid.
  2. Light dip. Want to replicate the crackled icing appearance? The trick is to *lightly* dip the tops of the cookies into the icing. Don’t submerge the cookies; just a quick dip!

2 images of hands dunking oatmeal cookie into glass bowl of vanilla icing

With every cookie recipe I test, I always set 6 or 7 cookies aside to see how they’ll taste a few days later. Results are often mixed– sometimes cookies lose their softness or just taste old… you get the idea. These iced oatmeal cookies? Still tasted fresh 1 week later. 1 WEEK.

As the days past, the spice flavor intensified. The centers were softer, the icing settled into the tops. By no means will your batch of iced oatmeal cookies last an entire week, but use my test as proof that these are damn good cookies!

stack of old fashioned iced oatmeal cookies

One batch of these iced oatmeal cookies will launch you into cookie stardom. They evoke emotion. They’re the kind of nostalgic cookie that grandma used to make, which is why they’re so popular on store shelves. I’m confident that this recipe will result in marriage proposals, 1st place medals, and sold out signs at bake sales!!

Exaggerating? I would never.

What is Sally's Cookie Palooza?

Sally’s Cookie Palooza is a tradition since 2013. Every December we countdown to Christmas with 10 new cookie recipes in a row. Over the next two weeks, I’m publishing 10 brand new cookie recipes as well as giveaways, the December Baking Challenge, Christmas cookie video tutorials, and so much more. This is the biggest, most delicious event of the year! Sign up for instant updates and you’ll receive a free email alert whenever I publish a new recipe. 🙂

Click to see Sally’s Cookie Palooza over the years!

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Old fashioned iced oatmeal cookies

Iced Oatmeal Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 2 dozen
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


These classic iced oatmeal cookies are old-fashioned style with soft centers, crisp chewy edges, cozy spice flavor, and are topped with vanilla icing that sets after a couple hours. Pulsing the oats before adding to the cookie dough will give you a compact and uniform textured cookie.


  • 2 cups (160g) old-fashioned whole rolled oats
  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup (2 sticks; 230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon unsulphured or dark molasses*
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  • 1 and 1/2 cups (180g) sifted confectioners’ sugar*
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1.52 Tablespoons milk


  1. Make the cookies: Pulse the oats in a food processor 10-12 times until you have a variety of texture– chopped oats with some oat flour. See photo above for a visual.
  2. Whisk the pulsed oats, flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until creamed, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, molasses, and vanilla extract and beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl and beat again as needed to combine.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. Dough will be thick and sticky. Cover and chill the dough for at least 45 minutes in the refrigerator (and up to 4 days). If chilling for longer than a few hours, allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before scooping and baking because the dough will be quite hard.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  6. Scoop cookie dough, about 1.5 Tablespoons of dough per cookie, and place 3 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 11-12 minutes or until lightly browned on the sides. The centers will look very soft.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
  8. Make the icing: Place sifted confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl. Add the vanilla extract and 1 Tablespoon of milk. Use a fork to whisk until combined. It will be impossible to fully combine because this isn’t enough liquid. Add only enough extra milk to make a very very thick icing. I only add about 1 more Tablespoon of milk. You want a very thick icing. Lightly dip the tops of the cookies into the icing. Icing will set after a few hours, so you can stack and gift the cookies.
  9. Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.


  1. Make Ahead Instructions: You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Allow to come to room temperature then continue with step 5. Baked cookies with or without icing freeze well for up to 3 months. Unbaked cookie dough balls freeze well for up to 3 months. Bake frozen cookie dough balls for an extra minute, no need to thaw. Click here for my tips and tricks on freezing cookie dough.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Glass Mixing Bowls | Cookie ScoopBaking Sheet | Silpat Baking Mat | Cooling RackNinja Food Processor
  3. Oats: Pulsing the oats in step 1 is the trick to this recipe. If you don’t have a food processor, use a blender. Even if you’re using quick oats, pulsing the oats is necessary– you just won’t have to pulse them as much as whole oats.
  4. Molasses: 1 Tablespoon of molasses helps give these cookies incredible flavor. If you don’t have any, use pure maple syrup instead.
  5. Confectioners’ Sugar: Sift confectioners’ sugar before measuring.


  1. Hi Sally- I’m on my second batch making these. They are perfect.
    I used apple pie spice because I didn’t have nutmeg, and I happened to have some dried apple slices, which I chopped up and added. They are amazing- apple oatmeal spice. Thanks for the recipe.

  2. I made these yesterday and they taste wonderful. Mine turned out really soft though not crunchy like Mothers

  3. Hi Sally i tried making these but when they were baking they didnt spread at all and the dough was very together it wasn’t sticky and i dont know what i did wrong , but i didnt use light brown sugar cause i didnt have any do you think it was that? Like these cookies came out looking rocky and small not like your pictures .

    1. What kind of sugar did you use, Melissa? If you used white granulated sugar that could be the problem.

  4. These cookies are delicious!!!!

  5. I made these for my brother’s birthday over the weekend and they tasted amazing a couple days later!! I was really impressed with how much better they got after a couple days! Thanks for the recipe!

  6. I just had to put in a good comment for these cookies! I didn’t make them myself, but I asked my boyfriend to send them to me as a birthday gift! I live in Taiwan and don’t have an oven here, so I couldn’t make them myself sadly! My boyfriend shipped them here from the US and they just arrived 12 days after he made them and they are still fresh! Soft, flavorful and delicious! He also used your trick for how to package cookies so thanks for that as well! Thanks for all the wonderful recipes Sally! Whenever a friend asks me for a good recipe to bake I always direct them to your blog! Keep up the amazing work!

  7. I wish I could send you a picture of how these turned out for me because they were absolutely perfect! So many of my friends I shared them with assumed they were store bought. I can’t wait to make them again.

  8. These were absolutely perfect and a keeper.

  9. Wow! I thought Sally couldn’t get any better than her awesome snickerdoodles but I was so wrong! These are the best cookies I’ve ever had! They are the perfect texture and sweetness. The icing dips take a lot of practice though as my last dips were the most like the original but still taste great either way. Thanks Sally! This won’t be the last time I make these!

  10. I’m sorry, but these are way too sweet, even without the icing. The texture is great. I couldn’t really appreciate the flavor because the sugar was just too overwhelming. I am not sensitive either, it’s just too much. I will try again with a cup of sugar instead.

  11. These are my husband’s absolute favorite! Love all your recipes – my grandchildren and I put on our aprons, make cookies and memories at the same time!

    1. So sweet – making memories is what it’s all about!

  12. Just made a batch of these and they are so good! I was a bit disappointed at first because they were not spreading as they were supposed to then I read a comment that explained that grinding the oats too much will cause this to happen which I know I ground them a bit more than necessary. When I put the next batch in the oven I flattened them out a bit so they wouldn’t take as long to bake. Even with my mistake they taste amazing!

  13. This might sound weird but have you ever used the morrocan Marrakesh hair product line? They make lotion too and it smells EXACTLY like these. I can’t get enough. Your recipe is the best and I can wear it on me

  14. I have made this recipe a couple of times, with one disastrous result – other people have found your blog and are now making their own amazingly delicious cookies. Curses!

  15. These were soooo good. I halved the recipe since it was just me. I was scared about the oatmeal portion and thought I was going to mess it up but the cookies turned out perfect. This is definitely a keeper.

  16. Made these last night and took some to work this morning. Not a single one left by noon. I used some leftover petit fours frosting, so cheated a little, but they were still delicious. This is a tasty cookie that can transport us back to simpler times. Your recipes are the best!

  17. Hi Sally! THESE COOKIES LOOK DIVINE. I was wondering if i could swap out the molasses with honey if i dont have any molasses on hand? 🙂 Also, if i want to add in dark chocolate chips, would you recommend this recipe or your Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies recipe? Thank you!

    1. If you don’t have molasses, I recommend you use pure maple syrup instead. You can use either recipe with dark chocolate chips – yum!!

  18. Christina Seeley says:

    Always love your recipes. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Karen Ontiveros says:

    Great icing and thanks for the tip on pulsating the oats ! Wonderful for packaging them to relatives ! Looking for a vegan minced meat holiday pie and a dried fruit bread to send to family ,can you help?

  20. I made these with a bit of a change. I used oil instead of butter, so I skipped the chilling stage, I’ve found if I chill batter with oil the oil separates. I used two teaspoons to scoop out the dough. This week I’m going to try them with bits of candied ginger and craisins. Maybe even add some white chocolate.

  21. One of my favorite cookies to make at Christmas! Such a winner.

  22. How do I get these to be more flat? These, as well as your “seriously soft molasses cookies” always are too puffy and never go flat. Thanks!

    1. Hi Laura, Try slightly flattening the balls of dough before you place them in the oven if they need help spreading a bit more!

  23. I collect cookie recipes so I have dozens that I love and use over and over. I just made these for the first time and, wow!, I quickly made a second batch. They are very popular and very wanted. Lots of people ask for more of them and the recipe too.
    They are some of the very best cookies I’ve ever made. I don’t like using my food processor — the big, clunky thing has to be washed and put away again, but for these cookies it’s worth it! I think I’ll just go ahead and process a whole container of the oatmeal and save it so I’ll always have some ready for the next batch of these incredible cookies.
    Many, many thanks, Sally.

  24. These are to die for! I just wanted to comment that I followed the recipe to the letter, using the 1.5 tablespoon cookie scoop. However I got way more than 2 dozen – I got 43 cookies. They certainly won’t go to waste of course!

  25. I have made frosted spiced oatmeal before, however, when I made these they turned out like little hard rocks. I read the comment about overprocessing the oats but judging from the picture and # of pulses I did not think that was what was wrong. I looked at several other recipes and figured out what was wrong—no baking powder. Once I added baking powder the cookies turned out cracked, flat and perfect. I think there is an error in the ingredients and the baking powder was missing in this recipe. Check it out Sally!

    1. Hi C! This recipe is correct as written– the recipe lists 1 teaspoon of baking soda (I do not use baking powder here). Did you skip that ingredient the first time? Thanks!

  26. These look fantastic; I will definitely be making these for my Christmas party this year! One question, do you think it would be an issue to substitute almond milk into the icing? I do not keep regular milk in the house and don’t want to buy an ingredient that will go to waste if I don’t have to!

    1. That should be fine!

  27. Delicious! Mine came out more like lattice cookies, very thin! What did I do?

    1. Hi Tauni, They will over-spread in the oven unless you chill the dough. Chill the cookie dough for at least 45 minutes in the refrigerator before baking. Also make sure you are using room temperature butter (make sure it’s not too warm).

  28. Hi Sally, this is the first time I have left a comment for anyone. I just have to say these are the best oatmeal cookies by far!! I have a small baking business and these and the stuffed peanut butter cookies are the most asked for. Thanks For All You Do!

  29. The flavor of these was great, but some of my cookies overspread in the oven (not all of them, maybe around ~6 of 32) – any idea as to why that happened? I chilled the dough for an hour, pulsed the oats correctly, measured out all the ingredients precisely… I’ve never before had a cookie overspread for me, so I’m very confused.

    1. Hi Julia, That is odd that only a few of them over spread but the rest were ok. Were they all in the same batch? You can check out my post on 10 Guaranteed Tips to Prevent Cookies From Spreading to help troubleshoot.

  30. my dad loves oatmeal cookies, i can’t wait to try this recipe! we use molasses and nutmeg in our oatmeal cookie recipe too but the texture of these looks perfect!

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally